Socca

While flipping through my most recent edition of National Geographic Traveler I came across this 1-page article on Socca (chickpea flour crepes).  Seeing as the picture indicated that this Socca (which I had never heard of before) was a food, I decided to read on.  The ingredient list was simple: chickpea flour, water, olive oil, salt.  The intent seemed ideal: to be in rough shards, eaten with your fingers.  How could I go wrong?  So I tried it.

The batter is fairly thin- much like crepe.

Socca batter

Socca batter

There are several options for cooking these- under a broiler (in a fry pan), on a very hot baking stone, stove top.  I opted to make my first three on a baking stone, preheated in a 500 degree oven, and the last in a cast iron pan so that I could see the difference.

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

Broiled socca: crispy edges and nicely cooked center

I served these as a gluten-free flatbread type of side to lemon-pepper chicken and green salads topped with crispy-fried mushrooms, roasted red peppers and cheddar cheese.

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Socca makes a great app or accompaniment

Ingredients:

2 cups chickpea flour
2 cups water
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 teaspoon salt (or more if you really want to taste it)

Directions:

  • Whisk together the chickpea flour, water, olive oil, garlic, thyme, and salt. Let stand for at least 30 minutes and up to several hours
  • Preheat your oven to 500 degrees with a baking stone in it
  • Give the batter a quick whisk and ladle a quarter of it into the skillet
  • Switch the oven to Broil and let it go for 5-10 minutes, until the top is browned and the socca is cooked in the middle (yet still tender) and crispy around the edges. Use a spatula to remove it from the stone
  • Repeat to make the additional flatbreads
Socca- ready for cutting

Socca- ready for cutting

Sautéed Radishes in Orange Butter Sauce

This just became my favorite warm salad.  A bite of this dish sports that earthy flavor of the cooked radish- which is somewhat akin to a roasted Brussels sprout, the saltiness of the bacon, the sweetness of the orange juice, the slight bitterness of the radish greens, and it makes mouths happy.

My favorite new way to cook bacon is in the oven.  If you have a thin cut, you want to use a lower heat, like 250 degrees, and thicker cuts can withstand 350 degrees.  You place a baking rack inside of a jelly roll pan and the fat just drips right down as the bacon cooks, and scrapes out easily once it’s cooled.  In my opinion the bacon still requires a patting down with a paper towel the remove the extra fat, but it’s much less significant than when it’s pan-fried.

And while we’re on the subject of bacon, may I just say that my entire life I have eaten commercial bacon- whatever was available in the standard grocery store.  Recently I bought into a couple of meat CSAs and have received bacon in my shares and Whoa!- what a difference.  Farm bacon is noticeably less salty and even the smoked varieties are much less smoky.  I love it!  You can typically also find farm bacon at farmer’s markets, and even at some farm stores which are set up inside of barns.  You aren’t going to find it on sale for $2.50, but your taste buds will thank you for the upgrade.

For more information on local MA organic farms, check this link out.

Ingredients:

1/4 pound bacon, cut into a 1-inch dice

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 bunch of radishes with their greens—radishes quartered lengthwise and greens chopped into ribbons

Salt and black pepper

3 large shallots, thinly sliced

1 tablespoon sugar or honey

1 cup orange juice

Directions:

  • In a 350 degree oven, bake the bacon to perfection on a baking rack in a sheet pan for 15-20 minutes.
  • In a cast iron frying pan place 2 tablespoons of butter and melt over a moderately high heat
  • Add the radish greens, season with salt and pepper and cook until wilted (about 3 minutes)
  • Scrape the greens into a bowl and set aside
  • Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet.  While the butter is melting, cut your cooked bacon into a 1-inch dice
  • Add the radish quarters and let them start to brown up in the pan, solo, for a few minutes

  • Add the shallots and bacon chunks and cook over a moderately high heat, until the radishes are golden brown (5- 6 minutes)

  • Add the sugar (or honey) and cook for another 2 minutes, until it’s completely dissolved
    Add the orange juice and bring it to a boil, stirring a few times, until the radishes are just tender and the sauce is slightly thickened (about 2 minutes)
  • Stir in the radish greens, season with salt and pepper and serve

 

We had this warm salad as a side to butternut squash soup and it was lovely.  The soup was very mild so the sweet and salty tones of the salad really stood out.

The inspiration for this dish came from this recipe in Food and Wine.